Sunday, May 15, 2011

More about me

I fall in love easily

I had always seen this as a virtue. I am warm, open and see the best in everyone. So I was more than a little abashed when my life coach friend said "You need to take a look at that". She asserted that I clearly am lacking something in my own life that I need to look to others to "complete me". She also said that until I was completely happy with myself I could not love another properly.

So.. let's explore.. why do I fall in love easily? and what implications does this have for me, and those who attempt to love me back.

My first thought was that maybe it is just lust. Psychologists have clearly examined the three stages of love Lust, Attraction, Attachment. maybe I just fall in lust get a rush of chemicals and wake up with a (h/m)an(g)over.

My second thought was that it is a personality thing. If anything walks into my home/life be it cat, dog, guineapig, unusual lamp, clapped out wreck of a car, difficult child/in-law, homeless student, coffee machine. Sooner or later I pattern on to it, and begin to love it for all its foibles. I came from a loving and accepting home and by-and-large I am driven my the need to have people and things I love around me whether or not they love me back. Once again, I suspect, this is a side effect of my supposed lack of ego. It does leave me open to being landed with things I don't really want, or don't realise I don't want until I reach a boundary.

I reject my friend's theory though, because I do believe I know and love myself. I can be alone. I actually enjoy my own company. Having a hyperactive 8 year old in my life does not make these moments of quiet reflection easy, but I can definitely amuse myself I have a lot of talents. I play the piano, paint, enjoy the outdoors etc.

I have not enjoyed, as you will have gathered from this blog, being separated from my family of origin. And yes, I seek to recreate the warm, close, quirky, rabble of family life.

Ten years ago, I would've said I don't fall out of love easily. I am a swan-like bond-for-life type of a gal. But circumstances have dictated that I learn to deal with this. This is the one indication that I am not a love addict.

Yes I have indulged in co-dependent relationships with Narcissists.

Yes, I fall in love easily. But when it doesn't work out, I don't become a bunny-boiler. On the contrary, my paired to the bone, doormatism allows me to walk away and simply shave another little slice off my meagre self-esteem.

I guess the work I need to do, is to be able to say to myself, that person was not worthy of me. I am bigger than that, I have so much going for me. I am able to walk away when someone treats me badly. I am able to deal with not being called back, hold my head up retain my self esteem, and get on with my life. Whilst at the same time not appearing brittle. In "Act Like a Lady, Think like a Man" Steve Hardy suggests that you should tell your prospective partner that you want him to be the head of your family. Certainly massaging his ego, and implicitly telling him you also want him to be the head of you too. This would definitely need to be coupled with firm boundaries.

Perhaps the worst of it, is that the very fact that I have to have this conversation with myself, means that now I enter relationships in fear, with an exit plan in place. I am unable to throw myself giddily into love with all my heart and soul.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

It's not you it's ME

Sometimes you may think that my blog posts display some sort of victim mentality, or at the very least - how unlucky I've been in love? but what has been dawning on me for some time, and I guess what all good psychologists would have uncovered is:

There is something about me that invites toxic behaviour from those in relationships with me

..and that's not just men, but I'll come back to that.

Here, in the spirit of self knowledge, and from what others have mentioned, is what I can deduce about my personality

(1) I have low self esteem
People have commentated that when I present, I make apologies for myself, and bascially self sabotage my work - I had perhaps internally seen this as self-deprecating humour, but it is something that as a woman is to be approached with great caution. If you say you are useless, people will believe you. In relationships this leaves the door wide open for abusers and manipulators. They can tap into this poor sense of self-worth, and feed it. Telling you, for instance, that you are so bad that nobody else would want you.

(2) I have no ego
Internally I would cast this as a virtue, I am easy going, I am not opinionated. I don't care where you take me to lunch, whether I wear expensive shoes, I don't take strong political stand points. This allows me to care little about anything. I am basically paired down to the bone. You can't destroy me because nothing matters to me, at all. Once again this allows people in relationships with me to follow their own agenda they decide where we go on holiday, what I wear, how they spend my money, and I pretty much roll over and let them. I even keep my values to myself. Thus it becomes surprising to them when they reach a boundary ie they have sex with an ex girlfriend and I make a fuss - after all I have never made a fuss about anything before.

I was going to include two more personality points here (3) I am not assertive and (4) I am indecisive, but as I try to distinguish these they do seem to be covered by (1) and (2)

(5) I am a surprisingly strong woman in very specific ways
During my marriage Simon would occaisionally remark that so-and-so was a strong woman I believe Beatriz is probably a strong woman by his definition. She asserts herself, holds him to account and demands his time and resources. He clearly thought I was not a strong woman, and this would offend me to the core..

The reason I was offended was because, you see, I honestly believe I am strong. I was always physically strong and able to endure hard physical labour -I had immense stamina a match for Simon and better than Neil. I remember Neil once ordered a truck load of fertiliser for our lawn. The process involved aeriating the lawn, getting the fertiliser off the immense pile wheeling it across the yard and spreading it. So motivated was I that I kept going until sunset, long after he had gone in for a beer. Likewise after a 50 mile bike ride, he went to bed, feeling ill whereas I was energised.

I am strong in the sense of self-control. I can keep chocolate in the fridge all week and not eat it.

I am strong in the sense that I know I can trust myself to follow through. If I make promises to people. I know I will carry them out. Absolutely without fail.

And whilst I suspect I will never excel at anything, I absolutely know I will never be broken.

I am strong in that I know myself. I generally confront my issues head on. I cry about them, laugh about them, write about them and then move on.

Being strong, in this non-assertive,self reliant way invites people to treat you as a doormat. You're strong like palmyra fibres and will not wear out. Hence you will drive them about, cook their meals, clean up after them, organise their schedules and generally be a mother to them and not expect anything in return.

I think my mother is little different, the difference being the man she married is a benevolant dictator, so he always has her best interests at heart. When you go out into the world being soft, strong and very very long. People will wipe their asses on you.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

More dating reflections

Picture the scene, there we are five women in our forties preparing to go out on the town. They are discussing their makeup (what a fortune they spend). Honestly to me they are in danger of looking like trannies the amount of makeup they slap on.

But apparently they are still trading on their looks. Many of them have been brought close to bankrupcy by divorce so, whilst pretending to "love the single life" they go out, throw back their peroxide manes and attempt to attract someone who will truly love and respect them.

They are not settling for second best. No siree many of them have been in emotionally abusive relationships, they have been betrayed.

How life deals such a double whammy at this age. Clearly having been holed up in these (often lonely) marriages for so long has not prepared we women for life. And now, alone in out 40s we resort to the behaviour we used before our marriages to meet someone new. We dress up, we flirt and we put ourselves out there. We also put-out I believe in the hope of being loved. But the landscape has changed. Out there are a mix of;

(1) playboys (like Neil) who have spent their entire adult life cruising for sex and have got very good at manipulating the numerous women in their life to believe they are happy to be fuck-buddies.

(2) Fresh divorcee's who aspire to (1) because they have spent 20 years in a loveless marriage also, and aren't about to be caught again.

And here is what occurs to me; I am not bankrupt, broken and abused, and I do not need to snare a meal ticket and thus, I want no part of this.

My relationship with men is analogous to my relationship with glasses of wine. Sometimes I crave a nice one with a meal, but if I let myself be drawn in, and overindulge, I wake up feeling wretched, and I am starting to believe it is better for my mental and physical health to abstain.